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Nick Simmons: Was "Inspired By" Bleach

Well yeah, that part was obvious.

 
 This is how I imagine Nick Simmons laughs
 This is how I imagine Nick Simmons laughs
Anyone following the current buzz, or just Kubo Tite's twitter feed, knows the name Nick Simmons. Artist/Writer behind action comic Incarnate, he's been called out on charges that he willfully copied design and layouts from the popular shonen work, Bleach.
 
Well, the drama continued when "Nick Simmons," responded to these accusations on facebook. The responses showed little guilt, or any cultural awareness for that fact, and riled up many a reader. Well, the real Nick Simmons, not his publisher, has issued a statement which has addressed how this was a fake correspondence, and addressed this entire matter.

“Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium. 
 
“I am a big fan of Bleach, as well as other Manga titles. And I am certainly sorry if anyone was offended or upset by what they perceive to be the similarity between my work and the work of artists that I admire and who inspire me.”

A) Its nice to know he is a fan
B) He referred to himself as a Manga artist.
C) The vibe I'm getting is "I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but I'm pretty sure I did nothing wrong."
D) Though the one that really upped my ire was...

My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.

Though, as Gia put it in discussion, "If Simmons is willing to bring it up like this, he's probably doesn't think he'll get sued..."
FoxxFireArt moderator on March 1, 2010 at 2:47 p.m.
It isn't just a similarity. There are scenes that are copied right from the pages of Bleach. Not just the poses, but also the meaning. Even to the point of lifting the same dialog. It's really damning when you see how pages of his comic line up with Bleach panels.
Even if they do start to republish. Sales are going to plummet and it will probably be canceled soon anyways.
giaon March 1, 2010 at 2:57 p.m.
FWIW, to explain what I meant in greater detail: it's generally considered a very bad idea to talk about anything in public (like, say, in an official statement) if there's the possibility of any legal actions in the works, because you might say something that seals your doom. 
 
On the other hand, Simmons clearly didn't admit to any wrongdoing, which would be the biggest potential pitfall, so it's not like there's no way he might wind up with a lawsuit. On the other hand, I would still be surprised if it came to that.
reinon March 1, 2010 at 3 p.m.
i heard about this from gia's post but what Does Nick simmons write (what is the name of this comic/manga?)
Renkon March 1, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.
Yeah, i'm calling BS on Mr. Simmons on this. As far as a homage stands, i might have believed him if it was only one or two iconic scenes that he copied. Things like that are common in all works and it would have been a nice treat for the readers "in the know" about the origins of that scene. However, when these scenes grow in number, look traced, are shaded the same, and hold the same dialog, it's no longer a homage.
 
also, it's really hard to Google his name alone -_-
rocketbomberon March 1, 2010 at 3:21 p.m.
 @rein:
It's called Incarnate, from new comic press Radical.  It was being released as a three issue miniseries, to be collected into a trade paperback later this year.  Only two issues are out, Radical has said they're putting Incarnate on hiatus, and that likely means (if this plagiarism thing is a true as it looks) that the series is dead and the trade is never coming out.
JDon March 1, 2010 at 3:56 p.m.
Inspiration my ass.  Sorry, there's a lot of blatant tracing in the dozen or so panel comparisons that I've seen.  It's not possible to just be "inspired" and manage to make images that are 90% matches for a trace.  It's one thing if they were similar, but they aren't just similar, the overlay examples show how close of a trace it was.
 
And yes, it's probably a very bad idea to talk about it, but obviously he didn't show enough judgment in the first place, I guess he doesn't think to start now.
Kelleth moderator on March 1, 2010 at 4:01 p.m.
I say sue him for everything he`s worth!!
HeeroYuyon March 1, 2010 at 4:50 p.m.
Putting aside the actual issue for a moment, all I want to say is that last quote in particular ticks me off.
 
 " My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.  "
 
 
So let me get this straight, he's saying basically that all manga looks the same as a general excuse? Jeez dude....
Mokujinon March 1, 2010 at 4:55 p.m.
It aint worth it I say we see how things play out likw we should stop production but not sue him, I'm making a manga inspired by DBZ (Blowing up planets, transforming into beast not oozaru but demon like things loving to fight and shooting ki stuff like that but characters,plot, and attacks are different)
Mikenon March 1, 2010 at 5:24 p.m.
I'm going to say what I said to a friend earlier on this topic "It ain't a homage if you trace it... multiple times". I can understand one or two similar scenes, but when the lines almost exactly match up and the dialogue happens to be the same multiple times, it goes beyond simple homage and into plagiarism. There are different ways to be inspired that don't involve directly copying...
lanaswifton March 1, 2010 at 8:19 p.m.

@Miken:
In all fairness, the drawings aren't similar enough to suggest that they were traced-- I'd say he was probably looking at the Bleach pictures while drawing.   
 
Which doesn't make it any less skeezy.

king_mon March 1, 2010 at 9:38 p.m.
NIck you copied that art exactly you jerk
JJOR64on March 1, 2010 at 9:47 p.m.
Interesting.....  I wonder how this will fold out over time.  It would be pretty funny if they sued him.
king_mon March 1, 2010 at 9:58 p.m.
they have to sue simmons or else the will appear to be pushovers and tons of people will start copying them
giaon March 1, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.
@king_m: It's easy to say that, but lawsuits are VERY expensive, and if whichever party gets sued-- Radical, Simmons, or both --doesn't have a strong case, which seems likely here, I doubt they'd ever get as far as court. So why would VIZ/Shueisha bother with the expense when they can probably get some kind of remuneration without it?
Hamblastoon March 2, 2010 at 12:23 a.m.
Anybody else getting echoes of Vanilla Ice and Queen/David Bowie?
Ephidelon March 2, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.
rocketbomber  
Incarnate #3 of 3 was meant to come out in December and is listed as on sale as of 9th December on Radical's site, so I'm pretty sure its already been released (although it didn't actually "end" with 3 of 3). There are images from it being used in the comparisons too.
John_Martoneon March 2, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.
@HeeroYuy said:

" Putting aside the actual issue for a moment, all I want to say is that last quote in particular ticks me off.    " My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.  "   So let me get this straight, he's saying basically that all manga looks the same as a general excuse? Jeez dude.... "

That's the only part of his message that truly ticked me off.
 
@Ephidel said:

" @  rocketbomber   Incarnate #3 of 3 was meant to come out in December and is listed as on sale as of 9th December on Radical's site, so I'm pretty sure its already been released (although it didn't actually "end" with 3 of 3). There are images from it being used in the comparisons too. "

Hmm, its interesting. Knowing that the work is "completed" and such a small miniseries does kinda change a bit for me. Its not like he'll be stretching out more and more of bleach homages for months/years of content.
Ephidelon March 2, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.
@ John_Martone
Ah but he wanted to. Quoted from this interview.  
 

 The current Incarnate series, published by Radical Comics, is just the tip of the iceberg. This arc is just the first of a three-issue series, but Simmons plans on continuing the book for a long time to come. 
 
“… it's going to say "To be continued" in very big letters at the end of that third issue, and I plan on continuing this for as long as I can, even if I have to put it out myself.” 


I've stopped after that quote because "as long as I can" is pretty indicative of the type of timespan you were talking about, but the next quote from him does have a timeframe stating he planned to still be working on Incarnate two years down the line. 

With regards to his statement about the 'end' of the Incarnate miniseries though, he's telling the truth; The third issue does come with a To Be Continued attached. It also comes with some dodgy pacing that causes some of the exposition event(s?) and answer->morequestions moments to look more stilted and tacked on than they otherwise might.  :|

Its awkward really. He refers to it as an arc, but I'm not really sure that it 'feels' like much progression has been made, or change effected, by the 'end'. I can see it, but it sort of lacks that 'rounded' 'complete' 'ready to move on' feeling an arc implies for me. It feels a little like it was halted at that point because, meh, it was as good a place as any to do so.
 
(Edit: Erk, messed up the formatting. Hopefully fixed now).
Lydian_Selon March 2, 2010 at 7:09 p.m.
I agree that he has done wrong but I don't see much legal discourse taking place, who the hell want's Gene Simmons & his ocean of money raining down blind parental vigilance??

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